Jose James has every reason to believe it's going to be a good year. The Minneapolis-born, New York-based singer's optimism is well-founded, having kicked off 2013 with an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman and the release of his fourth album, No Beginning No End - his first on influential jazz label Blue Note Records.
Over the years, Blue Note has been home to icons such as Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis but James is reluctant to be pigeonholed as a jazz singer.
Or a hip-hop artist or a neo-soul or R&B singer - such classifications are too restrictive for the music he wants to make.
Blending multiple genres is often a recipe for disaster but James seems to have found the right mix.
"I was starting to feel constrained with just jazz," he explains.
"I mean, I love the history and the music but I realised there just wasn't enough room for all my other interests.
"It's a theoretical question that every artist eventually faces. If you didn't have the man looking over your shoulder, what sort of music would you make? If you had the pure freedom to do whatever you wanted, what would you do?
"And that's what this ended up being."
James says every track on No Beginning began with him following a different impulse, which sometimes included handing songwriting responsibilities over to someone else.
"I realised I didn't have to write every song on the album, I could just produce myself as a singer and that was really cool because I'd never done that before."
On his latest effort, James pushed his sound further than ever before by collaborating with bass supremo Pino Palladino, Grammy-winning jazz pianist Robert Glasper and French-Moroccan chanteuse Hindi Zahra, among others.
"I wanted to reach out to different kind of people," he says.
"It got to a point where I knew what I could do as a writer and I wanted to try something new; I wanted to get out of my comfort zone."
The self-funded album was the result of three years of sessions, in six studios and across three countries and James puts the length of the recording process down to the pursuit of perfection.
He cites D'Angelo's neo-soul classic, Voodoo, as a touchstone during this process.
"Absolutely. I was listening to it today, it's just such a perfect album," he says.
'The West Australian' is a trademark of West Australian Newspapers Limited 2013.
All rights reserved.
Select your state to see news for your area.