updated 08/23/2011 AT 8:00 AM ET
•originally published 08/23/2011 AT 9:00 AM ET
“It’s definitely a combination of excitement and nerves, because my breathing isn’t exactly the same,” the singer, 34, tells PEOPLE. “I’m feeling out my breathing through my nose trying to see if the swelling’s going down. The sensation is mildly different, so that makes me fearful about singing.”
DeGraw says the Aug. 8 attack by unknown assailants left him completely unrecognizable.