Saturday marks one year since Carrie Underwood fell on the icy steps of her Nashville home and suffered a broken wrist and an injury to her face that required more than 40 stitches.
Since then, she's rallied, both personally and professionally, but what her fans may not know is that, for a period of time, the country music superstar couldn't sing at all.
Underwood revealed that detail in a new interview, where she also opened up about her fear that she no longer sounded the same when she finally returned to the studio in the spring to record her last album.
"I felt like the differences were more in my head than they were in anybody else’s that would listen to the things I was doing," the 35-year-old told Vulture of her "Cry Pretty" sessions. "I had wanted to be in the studio sooner than I was, actually recording these songs, but I had stitches inside my mouth, outside my mouth. It was physically impossible."
But the issues didn't end with the physical hurdle caused by the stitches. After healing, the recording process became what she called "a mind game."
"Do I sound the same? Is my diction the same? Does my mouth move the same as it did before?" she recalled thinking during the process.
Eventually she gained confidence in her sound again, with the help of writer-producer David Garcia.
"I would sing something and then look at David and be like, 'Did that all come out clearly?' My m’s and b’s and p’s were kind of the issue," she explained. "And he was like, 'I thought it sounded great.'"
And when she released "Cry Pretty" in September, her fans clearly agreed with him, sending the album to Billboard's top spot its first week on the charts.
As for that signature sound that she fretted over, while it survived her injuries, Underwood acknowledged that it's inevitable for it to evolve over the years anyway — and that's just fine by her.
"Things change just as you get older; your muscles change," she said. "I kind of expect I’m not always going to sound like I’m 22 coming off of 'American Idol.' Hopefully I get better."
For now Underwood is looking ahead to her "Cry Pretty Tour 360," which is set to kick off 2019. It would have launched even sooner, if it weren't for another — and much better — delay. As she revealed in August, she's currently pregnant with baby No. 2 for her and husband Mike Fisher.