Hoya, who left Korean boy band Infinite last August for his solo career, said he could not voice his opinion and was trapped under an "idol image" while he was a member of the group.
The singer spoke to Korean media days after his former band, Infinite, now with six members, released their new album "Top Seed."
"(As an idol) I was trapped because I was frequently told that 'Idols have to be this way'. Enemies always formed whenever I shared my true opinions. I naturally came to accept that idols only have to say things that people will like and the things that won't cause controversies," Hoya explained.
Back then, he said that he left Infinite to pursue singing and acting and that his goals differed from the agency's.
Hoya said during interviews, "I always gave the proper answers created by my agency and gave responses that did not go out of the boundary."
"When those things continued on into my mid-20s, I felt skeptical. I felt like I was losing myself as a person. I think you can and should talk about your political views on social media, and share your honest thoughts in interviews even if it might cause controversies," he added.
He said a few years ago, he realized "that I need to tell the stories that I want to share instead of worrying about, 'Will the public like this music?', or 'Will this harm my image?'"
As a solo artist, he said he's "trying my best to live that way. In the past, I used to think, 'If I do this, it'll be good, right? And people will like it?' but now I try to do it if it's fun and not do it if it's not fun."
About his debut solo album, he said, "I've been preparing for an album since last year and it's also been completed. The MV filming and album jacket shoot have not yet been processed but the song production, which is the most important part, has been done."