After spending three full weeks on vocal rest to recover from surgery to remove a polyp from his vocal cord, Keith Urban is back and ready to take the stage (and the mic) again. The ‘You’ll Think of Me’ singer will be performing live for the first time since his vocal absence on Feb. 3 at the Grand Ole Opry. In retrospect, he says 21 days of complete silence proved to be quite the challenge — both physically and emotionally — as he tried to recover and also not slip up and speak.

“You have to [go] three weeks [with] no talking, no uttering a sound, and you can’t cry, you can’t sneeze, you can’t cough, you can’t clear your throat,” Urban told Access Hollywood. “It was a strange three weeks, but I had a dream one night — it was the strangest thing ‘cause I thought, ‘What’s my voice gonna sound like when I hear it the first time again?’”

Frightened by the thought, Urban reached out to his doctor and remembers asking, “‘Would it be possible that I could sing in my sleep? Because you can’t, you’re not allowed to, and I was terrified that I was singing in my sleep, singing Leo Sayer songs!”

To add to his growing concerns about sleep-singing, Urban says there was also the communication barrier between him and his two young daughters, especially his 3-year-old girl Sunday Rose, who can’t yet read. ”So I had that issue too,” he said. “Mum had to communicate.”

With shows already on the books for 2012, Urban’s fans are just as excited as he is about his restored pipes.