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Mikhael Paskalev. Picture: Supplied

Tendonitis dashed Mikhael Paskalev's dreams of becoming a guitar god. Instead, the Norwegian focused on a more rounded appreciation of music, completing a bachelor's degree in music at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.

"My guitar hero antics were just thrown out of the window," Paskalev, 26, says from Oslo. "I listened to music a lot, which was maybe (more) important.

"I'm not really religious but I'll call it a blessing. It made me think about music more broadly."

Paskalev grew up in the picturesque fishing town of Alesund on the west coast of Norway. He admits to being an admirer of "soft ballads", naming Bright Eyes by Art Garfunkel, the Righteous Brothers' Unchained Melody and Jealous Guy by John Lennon as favourite tunes discovered via films.

It was an offbeat tribute to a classic cinema scene that brought the quirky Scandinavian to attention in Australia. The video for his infectious indie-folk single, I Spy sees Paskalev dance sans pants a la Tom Cruise in Risky Business.

"He's never been a hero of mine in any way, but when I was younger that scene stood out for some reason," he explains.

"It felt private and cool, like we shouldn't have seen it."

I Spy features on Paskalev's debut record, What's Life Without Losers, recorded in Alesund and Liverpool.

After a false start with "some more professional and experienced" producers, Paskalev teamed with fellow student Joe Wills.

Some of the 13 tracks were recorded in Wills' Merseyside flat, others in an abandoned primary school, utilising the vast gymnasium to get a reverb-heavy Joe Meek sound.

The track Dust is about the "intoxication" of the brief but intense northern European summers, while Wim Wenders' movie Paris, Texas inspired Jailhouse Talk.

Most of the rest are about girls. "I do have a 70-30 ratio on the record," Paskalev concedes, "which is respectable, right?"

The charming rising star is looking forward to escaping part of a Norwegian winter when he makes his first visit Down Under. Paskalev and his band, which includes Wills, play the final night at the Festival Gardens.

"I'm really, really excited," Paskalev says. "I've always wanted to go (to Australia).

"It's kind of embarrassing, most people in Norway grew up watching Home and Away after school. That's my picture of how Australia is going to be."