Lucia Cole is a platinum-selling singer dating an NFL star. Shaquille O'Neal has called her the next Mariah Carey, and stars like Drake and Ariana Grande have been lining up to be featured on her upcoming album. Tyler Perry even wanted her to be in his next movie!
She has a complete album on iTunes, a legion of fans on Twitter (60,000), and her music is also available to stream on services like Spotify and Tidal. Only there's one small problem. Below is her hit song, released just months ago, "Faith in Me." Give it a listen and see if you can hear the problem.
Hear anything suspicious? One Ariana Grande fan did. After learning that Grande would appear on Cole's new album, 19-year old Leo Loera decided to check her out. He listened to the song by Cole and noticed that is sounded eerily similar to Jessica Simpson's "Your Faith in Me." Give a listen to Simpson's version below.
So what gives? How was Cole able to get around copyright laws to basically copy Simpson's song? The answer is simple.
Cole is nothing more than a catfish.
What is a catfish? The term was coined by the documentary "Catfish," which tells the story of a woman who used Facebook to create a fake online identity. So these social fakers use other's photos as profile photos to trick you into thinking they're someone they're not. Sometimes, the goal is to get you to enter a fake emotional or romantic relationship, for their own amusement, or they might be setting you up for a sweetheart scam. You might remember that it's what happened to NFL player Manti Te'o.
It turns out, all of Cole's songs available on iTunes are the same as Jessica Simpson's songs, only with slight tweaks of song titles, except for "His Eye is on the Sparrow" which Cole left completely unchanged.
After finding out all this information, Loera began assembling his team of Ariana Grande followers, posted it to pages for fans of Lady Gaga and other popular acts. The story got tweeted, and all of the sudden it was game over for Cole.
After that, a flood of messages hit Twitter and Cole has shut down her Twitter page, among others. Besides, out of her 60,000 followers on the site, BuzzFeed found that the overwhelming majority of them were bots.
But what about the photo? Lucia Cole's image is actually a Canadian model named Reese Cromwell, seen in the Instagram snap below:
No word yet on who the real Lucia Cole is. However, before she deleted her Twitter account, she posted a message saying that she had created Lucia Cole in an attempt to catfish singer Trey Songz after he broke up with her first catfish account. She also said in the note that she would commit suicide after posting the message. Since then, a few of her real followers have come to her defense.
We still have no word on who the real Lucia Cole is, or even if she's still alive. But one thing is sure. She's the first celebrity catfish, unless you count Milli Vanilli.